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AUSTRALIAN Federal Police have charged two men for allegedly importing 320 kilograms of cocaine into Western Australia.

Police allege the men hired a 6.5-metre boat in Karratha. They then drove it to Port Hedland where they launched it from a local boat ramp. The two men went about 28 kilometres out to sea on Thursday and Friday evenings.

Police suspect the pair used the boat to collect the cocaine from the ocean.

The men’s boat was seen idling close to an international bulk carrier while offshore. Investigations are continuing into suspicions that a ship was used to import the drugs into Australian waters from overseas.

The WA Police Force Tactical Response Group boarded the bulk carrier. ABF, AFP and WAPF officers then searched the ship. According to local media, police seized a “significant number of electronic devices” in their search of the ship.

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The two who were arrested and charged are a man from New South Wales and a German national aged 37 and 49.

The older man was arrested in a campervan here investigators allegedly found the illicit drugs, which were in 320 individual blocks, each weighing about one kilogram. Those blocks were in eight packages wrapped in plastic.

Police estimate the drugs to be worth at least $128 million.

Police will allege the 37-year-old, a German national, flew into Australia earlier this month to help retrieve the drugs.

ABF Commander James Copeman said the ABF maintained a strong presence along the Western Australian coast and offshore to contribute to a multi-layered, multi-agency approach to border protection.

“Our highly trained officers use a range of enforcement capabilities, information sharing and intelligence with our partners, while our aerial, maritime and land surveillance help protect the Australian community by disrupting those seeking to import illicit drugs,” Commander Copeman said.

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